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Be Still

By Cassie of Cassie’s Corner.

CassiesCornerButtonTonight while putting the kids to bed I was singing along with their instrumental hymns Pandora station. The song was Amazing Grace. Ezekiel crawled out of bed and onto my lap. He was crying, he just laid there and wept like a baby when they are over tired and just need sleep. I continued to sing and he calmed down. I asked if he was ok and he replied that he just needed me to hold him. How precious is a child’s love for their parents. This simple gesture by my son made me think of our Father, God. He showed us amazing grace by sending his son to live among us and die on a cross for our sins. He yearns for us to crawl up on his lap and weep and just be held. Praying Psalm 91 over the kids tonight  for their protection and acknowledgment that God is their refuge and strength.  I realize my need to just be held….”Be still and know that I am God…” Thank you Lord for using my children to show me to slow down and acknowledge your strength in my life

Click here for more of Cassie’s heartfelt lessons.

 

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Clean your own closet

By Cassie of Cassie’s Corner

CassiesCornerButtonSo often we find ourselves as parents scolding our children for behavior that we see as wrong, unruly, or down right disobedient. Sadly, we discipline our children for simply being a child. I recently had a conversation with my daughter regarding her behavior and lack of respect. When I asked her why she kept acting out and would not listen to my directions to clean her room she answered soundly, “Daddy doesn’t put his laundry downstairs. Daddy doesn’t put his shoes away.” And on she went with a ‘laundry’ list of behaviors my husband and I do that we should not do, things we say that we should not say, it was a brutal list of our behaviors as parents that were rubbing off on our children. I listened to her speak and I silently wept as I realized that I had become a ‘Do as I say, not as I do” type of parent.

Some would say that as a child, my “sweet-face” should not be allowed to tell us Mt St Helens(her parents) how to act or what we are doing wrong. They are welcome to their opinion as we are welcome to parent our children as we see fit. In our home our children are free to communicate whatever they are feeling as long as they do so with respect and at the appropriate time. Our daughter was holding up a mirror and revealing to us how her and her younger brother view my husband and I as parents, as examples.

Proverbs 22:6(NIV), “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

All I could think about as I listened was the above verse. I kept asking myself what kind of legacy am I teaching my children. I wondered, how do my children view their father? I wondered how our son and daughter viewed God, if we were a reflection of His love for them while on earth. My heart broke. An innocent conversation about being good stewards of what God has blessed us with (clothes, toys, beds, a home), turned into a self-reflection that was seriously ugly.

Thankfully, our children forgave us for being poor examples in some areas and thanked us for being great parents in others. We asked them for forgiveness and they asked us to forgive them. We prayed as a family and asked God to look at our hearts, to search us and to know us and to reveal himself to us. The night ended with us listening to worship music and being grateful for open communication.

Once the children were asleep my husband, Geoff, and I processed the conversation and how it made each of us feel. I reminded him that the whole thing started over a mandated instruction for our 8-year-old to clean up her closet and put her clothing where it belonged. Then, I said, “As parents, we need to clean out our own closets before we reprimand our children. I was referring to examining our own behavior before we react to our children living as we have shown them. As parents, self-reflection is always a good thing. Sometimes it’s beautiful and sometimes it’s down right nasty. We were both very sad and pondering how we had allowed ourselves to be so consumed with life that we had forgotten our most precious positions; living as children of God and being parents to our most priceless gifts from our father above.

I laid in bed that night asking God to make me the kind of mother that my children could be proud of. The kind of mother that they would want to have at school and around their friends. I asked him to open my eyes to areas in my life that need Him the most and to start a work in me that would filter into my children and their children after them. He is so very faithful to answer our prayers.

Exodus 20:6(NIV), “but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

Gram H Legacy 2My hope is that every person that reads this article will stop and think about the example they are to the next generation(s). Parents or not, we are all examples to someone. What type of LEGACY do you want to leave?

 

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The World We Live In

By Cassie of Cassie’s Corner.

Join Cassie each month for a new heartfelt post.  To read more of her writing go to the Cassie’s Corner link on the side of the page.  

Blessings, The Midlife Domestic Goddess.

Insanity: the condition of being insane; a derangement of the mind. Extreme foolishness; folly; senselessness; foolhardiness.

We live in an insane world. After graduating from college I entered the CassiesCornerButtonwork force as a Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA) Parole Assistant. My case load consisted of Level 2 and 3 Sex Offenders, young men aged 15-18, who were deemed the highest risk to re-offend. All I could think was, wow, when did kids start hurting other kids so horribly. I had taken numerous classes during my four years at the university but nothing prepared me for the real life events that I reviewed in the case files of the youth on my roster. When I started with the JRA I thought I had arrived at my dream career position and I was so excited to be able to start in the field I had always wanted to be in. That excitement was cut short when my job soon turned from trying to help these youth change their lives for the better, into trying to catch them doing something wrong, so I could locked them back up. After only three short months, I was able to determine that the JRA setting was not my dream job but a sad system setting kids up to repeat bad choices and make them feel like no one believed in them.

My second post college job was at a secured drug and alcohol treatment center for 12-17 year old boys. They were all locked in rehab as their last option, it was rehab or a juvenile institution. I loved that job from start to finish. The young men I worked with taught me so much about life and what it meant to be a real person. It was there I learned how fragile todayʼs youth really are. How the choices we make as parents form and shape the choices our children make. To those boys the definition of insanity was doing the same behavior over and over and expecting different results. I always thought that was such an interesting view on life because to me, if I made a choice and didnʼt like the outcome I would just make a different decision the next time. Each young man I worked with helped to shape my view of the world as I walked out my life from behind the fence that kept them inside.

As I prepared to leave that job and transition into another branch of youth social services, I began to pray and ask God to examine my heart and desire to work with At Risk Youth. I was loosing hope in the desire to have my own children due to the pain and anguish I saw so many kids and parents going through over ten years while working in my desired occupation. I prayed constantly for the kids that I worked with, petitioning God to save them and show them who He was through me. Alas, after getting married and becoming a mother in 2006, I decided that I needed a break from full-time work as a Youth Care Specialist in 2008.

Fast forward to the present; I am now a college educated mother of two that holds a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology. I now pray for my own children to know who they are in Christ and for what purpose they were created. I find myself struggling to separate my knowledge of how insane the world can be from being a fun-loving person who welcomes new people into the lives of her children. I send my daughter to school praying that there wonʼt be a mass shooting or some sort of attack. I observe every person who is waiting for a student to be released from school as a potential offender or threat to myself and my children. I am constantly aware of who is around me, what they are wearing, what car they are driving, and all the other aspects of my surroundings.

I am not paranoid. I do not live in fear. I live in the here and now, the realistic part of life and what may happen at the blink of an eye.

I have so much information in my brain that in the natural is overwhelming to think of or comprehend. The experiences that I had working with At Risk Youth have forever shaped me into the person I am today. As a mother I use those years of experiences to help protect and shield my children from the insanity of this world. I am proud of the time I was able to serve caring for other peopleʼs children, it taught how I wanted to love my own. I believe with all my heart that God allowed me to see just how horrible life can be, so that I would be prepared to be a parent in the world my children now live in. For that, I am forever thankful.

 

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My Church Lady “Smile” mask

By Cassie of Cassie’s Corner

As a psychology student in college I learned about masks people wear to protect themselves from other people knowing who they really are or how they really feel. A mask is defined as a covering for all or part of the face, worn to conceal one’s identity, anything that disguises or conceals, and/or any protective covering for the face or head. I am the queen of masks.1460089_10202385674673583_318410895_n

I have a Mommy Mask, Wife Mask, Daughter Mask, Mentor Mask, Servant Mask, Tough Lady Mask and my extra special Church Lady Smile Mask. Each mask serves it’s specific purpose to protect me from those around me knowing my personal war with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

When I began thinking about what to write for this month all I could think about was my Church Lady Smile. Come on now, you know what I’m talking about. The smile on your face you wear on Sunday’s at church whether you realize you do or whether you adorn yourself with it right before you walk in the door. My mask looks confident, happy and sounds cheerful and loving. I place this mask on every time I feel like I am going to emotionally loose it at church.

I am a woman in my mid-thirties that feels like I should still be a college student. I am a wife and a mother and most of the time I feel disqualified to be either. Most Sunday’s are a struggle to get the family to church and present ourselves ‘all put together’ so no one notices that on the way to church the kids were screaming and my husband and I were fighting.

I know that we are not the only family that this happens too, we all have our moments. Each Sunday however, I feel the need to switch gears from being wife and mom to representing the pastor of our church as his assistant. I have to look the part, right? Wrong. I burden myself with so much pressure to look and conduct myself as a professional, friendly, godly and above all else, strong in the faith and emotionally sound. I put on my Church Lady Smile, the one that makes me look like I have conquered the world and I can handle every all at once.

God knows when my Church Lady Smile Mask is super glued on for survival. When I am walking through something, I want to conceal my real feelings and try very hard not show it at church. For some reason, I am not comfortable showing my brother’s and sister’s in Christ that I am secretly vulnerable and emotional. This is exactly the opposite of everything I have ever learned from God’s word.

I need to take off my mask and let myself weep in His presence. I need to ask for pray and let those whom I call family surround me and walk with me. My Church Lady Smile has helped me along my journey so many times that I often don’t even know I am wearing it. I have allowed myself to be conformed to the ways of the world concerning emotions and vulnerability. The world tells us to act strong, be strong, live strong. No one can be strong all the time.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 7.05.21 PMPlease take a moment to step back and evaluate your masks, we have all them. Ask a friend, family member, spouse, or significant other if they see you wearing a mask or trying to hide behind a tough exterior. Next, find one or two people who you feel ‘safe’ being vulnerable with. Share with them your exposed heart. Finally, take the mask(s) off and be who you were created to be. Weak or strong, fearful or brave, out spoken or quiet; JUST BE YOU!

To read more of Cassie’s posts go to “Cassie’s Corner”

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Child of the most high God.

By Cassie’s Corner

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I am a Daughter…..

What is a daughter? A daughter is defined as a female child or person in relation to her parents. A female IMG_6332descendent, a person related as if by the ties binding daughter to parent. What is a son? A son is defined as a male child or person in relation to his parents. A male descendant, a male child or person adopted as a son, a person in legal position as a son. I was born a daughter to my mother and father, a granddaughter to my parentsʼ parents, and a sister. I was born to be a daughter.

To be a daughter has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. Growing up I was doted on by both my Mother and Father, my grandparents were amazing and I was loved. I made life choices based on how I was nurtured at home and the interactions between my parents and their parents. I was raised by a single mother, with one older sister in our house. We saw our father on the weekends and would spend time with our ʻstep- sisterʼ, ʻhalf-brotherʼ, ʻhalf-sisterʼ, everyone labeled us a ʻblended familyʼ and wanted to separate us based off who our parents were. This never changed how we saw ourselves, we were four sisters and one brother and loved each other regardless of what our blood work showed.

We were family, a family that was created specifically for a purpose; a purpose that was unknown but always being sought after. We shared everything and did all of lifeʼs events together with our different parents coming together for a common purpose; US. I treasured those times and still do. Our parents still come together, now for their grandchildren. My family growing up is like the Kingdom family, I am now part of.

As a young girl I chose to be a daughter of the Most High God. John 1:12-13(NIV) states, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husbandʼs will, but born of God.” I was so excited to be Godʼs daughter, I wanted more with each Sunday that I attended church, I wanted Jesus to live in my heart.

I have lived a life being part of a truly ʻBlended Familyʼ, I have biological parents, spiritual parents, grandparents and numerous brothers and sisters in Christ. I am surrounded by love and acceptance from both. God created earthly families to be unique and special. He created us each as a daughter or a son for a purpose, to live together for a common goal; love one another and share His love, bringing others into our ʻUniquely Blended Familyʼ.

 To read more of Cassie’s post go to Cassie’s Corner

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His story in me

By Cassie’s Corner

Recently I shared my personal life journey at our church, revealing things about myself I had never spoken in a CassiesCornerButtonpublic setting. I have shared over the years bits and pieces, only revealing what I wanted to, leaving out the painful parts, the unwise choices, and the ugly details. I was nervous and a little unsure how my story would be received. You see, everyone has a story but not everyone wants to bare their soul in front of a crowd. I was one of “those” people until our pastor asked me to speak. He knows my whole story; the good, the bad, and the ugly. He wanted my salvation story, the personal account of my walk with God and where His love has led me.

Expressing in words the experiences of my life was eye opening to me. I truly had to examine who I was and how much I have changed over the last 15 years. While preparing to speak, I prayed and asked God to give me a clear word to share. I wrote my notes and read them a few times, I even brought my journal up with me when I spoke. I was shocked to realize, I didnʼt look at it once. Somehow the words just flowed from my mouth as if someone else speaking, I was talking but the words were not my own.

Our church is doing a series right now called Rags to Riches; once a service a different person is sharing their testimony, His Story of their life. Over the last several weeks, I have been so encouraged and even in awe of the amazing people God has surrounded me with. Simply stated, hearing their stories has allowed me to get to know them on a deeper level. A level that may have never been reached had they not stepped up and exposed themselves in order for Godʼs love to be expressed.

All this being said, my life has been a constant lesson in the unconditional love of Christ. He has saved me from myself, my vices and rescued me out of some seriously horrible decisions. My life has been full of joy and full of sadness. Full of anger, depression, anxiety, victory, success and most of all an understanding that I cannot do anything that will ever make me unlovable to God.

My question to you the reader, What is your story? If you were asked to speak and share your heart and soul, would you be willing to expose the truth that is you? I encourage each one of your that reads this to take a moment and reflect over your own life journey. Where have you come from, where are you going, and where do you want to be?

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Three Gifts

 By Cassie’s Corner

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Yesterday, my husband and our family decorated for Christmas; the tree, the lights, the garland, and all the trimmings. Our children loved the way the house looked and have not stopped talking about how beautiful the tree is in front of our large living room window. My son, who is 3, walked out of his bedroom just before bed and exclaimed, “Mommy, thatʼs the most wonderful tree Ever!” I loved his enthusiasm and excitement. My daughter, who is 7, agreeing with her brother that the tree was beautiful, reminded him that Christmas wasnʼt about the tree or Santa Claus. She proclaimed, “Christmas, is Jesusʼ Birthday!” Then, as they stood together looking at the tree, I heard them say in unison, the most amazing statement, “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” They giggled, then laughed, leading them to pure joy in telling Jesus, Happy Birthday.

Christmas TreeOur simple five foot artificial Christmas tree brought true bliss to my children, without a present underneath it. So often, we as parents think, the more we put under our tree, the more excited our children will be with their “Christmas Morning” discoveries. A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook, how her family does Christmas; three presents for each child. She wrote, “Jesus only got 3 gifts and he survived, Iʼm sure my kids will too.” I loved everything about this statement, then, yesterday as I watched and listened to my children regarding the celebration of Jesusʼ birthday; my husband and I made a decision, this would be our tradition too.

Matthew 2:10-11 states, “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (NKJV)

Jesus is the reason for this Christmas season and for every season of life. Regardless, of our ability to put one or three or a dozen presents under the Christmas tree; Jesus only received three presents and he was blessed. This year, I encourage every person who reads this to remember three precious, treasured gifts, that God has given them and pass the same along to those whom they hold dearest.

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus!

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My refueling station…The Bible

CassiesCornerButtonBy Cassie’s Corner

Knowing that God made me to do life according to His calling, I find rest and strength in His word. To be refueled for lifeʼs more tasking moments and having only short spurts of time to do a devotional can make it difficult to spend “enough” time studying each day. I was 20 years old when I truly dedicated my life to the Lord. I was a college student averaging 18 credits, a 25-32 hour a week employee, and volunteered as a leader at Generation Church. I was overwhelmed and overdone with little time to myself, let alone, any time to worship or read my Bible. I needed a remedy and quickly, so I had a conversation with God.

photoNot long after my simple prayer asking for help, I was shown something amazing; an old trick my friend called a Rabbit Trail. This Rabbit Trail was a special tool to help me dig in fast and retrieve specific verses to reference when I needed them. Amazingly, one verse led to a series of reference verses, that led to other verses and definitions and explorations. In these trails, I found my way of refueling in His word everyday. Even now, 15 years later as a stay at home mother and wife, I find myself crazy busy and short on time and often needing to journey down a Rabbit Trail now and then. I love my life and my family; however, I have learned that if my spiritual tank is empty then my virtue tank is bone dry and that just isnʼt good for anyone. I try to pick a verse each day as a resource for when I need to refocus on Him and the tasks at hand. Then, when all is quiet, even for only a moment, I can read that verse, find a reference in my Study Bible, and all else fades away. My favorite thing about following these fuzzy, sometimes long trails is simply this; Godʼs word is our life bread. When we are entangled in the ups and downs of life as mothers, wives, college students or whatever other hats we wear, these trails can lead us to a deeper understanding of Godʼs love for us. A quick 15 minutes can reset our perspective and jump start our attitudes. My Bible is my one-stop shopping place; everything I need for everyday is right at my finger tips, waiting to be discovered. Here is an example of a Rabbit Trail:

Matthew 4:4 states, “It is written: ʻMan does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.ʼ” This leads to Luke 4:4, which essentially says the same thing. However, the verse in Luke brings us back to Deuteronomy 8:3, showing the connections between the Old and New Testaments, and how Godʼs word is the same yesterday, today, and forever

Jump into God’s word and get going on your own rabbit trail of refueling

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Formed in his image

I am more than a Full-time mother and Housewife; I am the Daughter of the One True King, predestined for great things for His Kingdom. Jeremiah 1:5 is such a fantastic illustration of this, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…(NIV).” Sometimes as a mother with young children it is easy to forget that life is happening outside the four walls of your home and in different parts of the city other than your route while taking the kids to school.

Last night while with a wonderful group of ladies at our Women’s Bible Study, I was reminded of something I learned a long time ago; I am a one of Christ’s Precious Creations.  This morning, I am thankful to God that His mercies are new each day.CassiesCornerButton

I was reminded that God created each of us as a special individual with a specific purpose. Just because one person may talk more than another, may look a certain way, or act in a manner that differs from the “norm” does not mean one is more valuable than the other. Psalm 139:13-14 clearly states, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my motherʼs womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well (NIV).”

Praise God that we were all created specifically for Him and no one else. Simply knowing that the beauty within enthralls Him makes my heart overwhelmed with peace. Each day, we get to walk out a life predestined and designed just for each of us. I (We) was created to be a Woman of God.

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